I was catching up on some e-mail reading this morning. I subscribe to a number of things - many of which I hardly ever have time to read. Publisher's Lunch, Absolute Write, Kids & Librarians News...I can't even list them all. I save them and periodically browse through to see if there's anything I should read.
All of the newsletters targeted toward writers are full of "Learn the Secret to [insert any kind of writing type here]" Everyone is looking for the secret. The in.
There's no real secret.
You just have to write. And write, write, write. The more you write, the better you will get. And you have to finish things.
That's really it. There's no formula to success in this business. One person's road to success may or may not work for you. Some excellent writers will never achieve critical success while some mediocre writers will luck into the right time, right place and make the bestseller list. That's not to say that it is completely random or based on luck -- good writing will get you a lot farther than bad writing any day. And a writer today also has to be a publicist, a marketer (of themselves and of their book), a good public speaker...etc., etc.
Anyway, that's my soapbox for the day. I guess I just kind of get annoyed at all those classes and e-books people are selling to "help" others improve their writing. Basically, they are making a living out of selling hope. There's nothing wrong with hope and I'm sure those classes and things do help some people. But mostly I think they'd be better off just getting out there and writing. Any time you spend on other stuff just delays your ultimate goal in some ways. I mean, some research, etc. is necessary, but you shouldn't be doing 95% research and 5% writing.
Of course, I say this as I sit here typing in my blog instead of working on my novel. Heh. Okay, off to the salt mines I go. Currently at 18,465.